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Kaori Sakamoto in 4th Place After Short Program at World Championships

After a few miscues in her short program, two-time defending world champion Kaori Sakamoto will have to rally to win her third straight world title.



Kaori Sakamoto
Kaori Sakamoto performs her short program at the 2024 ISU World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal on March 20. (KYODO)

Read the full story on SportsLook - Kaori Sakamoto in 4th Place After Short Program at World Championships

Two-time world champion Kaori Sakamoto has some work to do if she is going to extend her reign as skating's queen to three years as she stands in fourth place after the short program at the World Figure Skating Championships in Montreal, Canada, on Wednesday, March 20.

The 23-year-old Sakamoto was the final skater of 35 and appeared unusually stiff in her performance. Despite a few miscues, the star is still in the running for the gold as she is less than four points off the lead heading into Friday's free skate where her powerful jumps may carry her to the title once again.

Sakamoto is attempting to become the first woman in 56 years to win the world crown three straight years. The last to do it was American Peggy Fleming from 1966-68.

Belgium's Loena Hendrickx, last year's bronze medalist, is in the lead with 76.98 points, while American Isabeau Levito is second at 73.73, and South Korea's Haein Lee, last year's silver medalist, is third on 73.55.

Sakamoto is fortunate to be in fourth on 73.29 after her somewhat shaky outing. Hana Yoshida stands in eighth at 64.56, while Mone Chiba is well back in 13th with 62.64.

Kaori Sakamoto
Kaori Sakamoto is attempting to become the first woman in 56 years to win the world title three straight years. (KYODO)

Kaori Sakamoto
Kaori Sakamoto (KYODO)

Sakamoto Not at Her Best on This Night

Sakamoto skated to "Baby, God Bless You" and opened with a nice double axel, but then had an awkward landing on her triple lutz. She recovered to land a big triple flip/triple toe loop combination jump, but then stumbled during her step sequence.


Sakamoto earned level fours on all of her spins and a level three on her step sequence.

"I am disappointed, so many mistakes one after another," Sakamoto confessed. "There were no bad nerves today, I was actually feeling relaxed, but I was too much like in practice and couldn't switch properly to competition mode. I know I can't afford a mistake in the free skate."

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.


Author: Jack Gallagher

The author is a veteran sports journalist and one of the world's foremost figure skating experts. Find articles and podcasts by Jack on his author page, and find him on X (formerly Twitter) @sportsjapan.

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